Open Data Day and Citizen Data Academy

Each year, International Open Data Day serves as way for governments around the world to highlight the benefits of open data and engage communities in the development of data-driven solutions to common civic challenges.

The City of Baton Rouge hosted a virtual event on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, featuring “lightning talks” with City-Parish leaders who use data daily to improve programs and services and make better decisions in areas like public safety, drainage, stormwater management, blight and code enforcement, health and human services, and more. You can view the recording at

Citizen Data Academy

The City-Parish Citizen Data Academy is a free, citizen-focused education and training series Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome launched in 2020. The series connects City-Parish technology and innovation subject-matter experts with Baton Rouge residents, helping participants understand and unlock the full power of City-Parish data — how to find it, what it includes, and how to use it to understand trends and improve quality of life in our community. In 2021, Mayor Broome announced the launch of an on-demand video series designed to take this same information and distill it into short, convenient YouTube video segments that residents can use to navigate the City-Parish’s vast data and GIS resources — regardless of their technical expertise. Access the series at

12th Annual Community History Festival

The 12th Annual Community History Festival—At Grandma’s House will be held on Saturday, April 2, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Pride-Chaneyville Branch. The whole family will enjoy a day of FREE country fun, food, games, crafts, and entertainment. The Louisiana Lagniappe Dulcimers and the Upbeats will provide music for the event; the ever-popular, old-fashioned Cake Walk will be held every hour; and there will be an activity based on everything Grandma used to know and do from ancestry to oral histories, gardening, cooking, household hints, sewing, cleaning for company, milking the cow, words of wisdom and more. Come take a step back in time, revisiting the storied past of the Pride-Chaneyville area

One Book, One Community Kickoff Party

Join us this Spring 2022 for our 16th Annual One Book One Community series celebrating the 2006 memoir, Atchafalaya Houseboat by Gwen Roland! Bring the whole family to enjoy delicious food & refreshments, live music from RJ & Kreole Smoove, crafts, & community organizations celebrating Louisiana landscapes, nature, cultural heritage, & more.

For more information about this year’s OBOC selection and a full schedule of events and programs, visit

Library Closed for Mardi Gras

All branches of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library will be closed tomorrow, March 1st, for Mardi Gras, and will reopen on Wednesday, March 2nd, for regular hours. The digital library is always open!

Curious about local Mardi Gras history? Check out the Baton Rouge Digital Archive for more images like the one above! We’ve featured a costume design sketch for the 1983 Bal Masque II Queen of the Mystic Krewe of Apollo. You can find many other images of southern Louisiana parades, balls, and costumes from sources like The Advocate Historical Archives and local krewes.

Preserving History: Mardi Gras (recorded lecture)

Louisiana State Archivist Catherine J. Newsome and Archives Exhibit Curator Angela Cinquemano discuss the challenges and rewards of preserving Mardi Gras paraphernalia for future generations, highlighting some of the items on display at the new Mardi Gras exhibit at the State Archives of Louisiana.

To view the recorded lecture, click here. To learn about Mardi Gras history preserved right here at the Main Library on Goodwood, visit the Baton Rouge Room’s infoguide or the Baton Rouge Digital Archive.

African American Read-In

Join us at the Main Library at Goodwood on Saturday, February 26 at 10 a.m. as we participate in the African American Read-In. This national event encourages communities to join together to celebrate African American authors. Participants of all ages will read or recite kid-friendly poems, books, and songs by famous African-Americans. Special guests will include Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and representatives from 100 Black Men. Please call (225) 231-3760 for more information and to register.

Business Person of the Month: Kelli Palmer of Breedlove Beauty

Breedlove Beauty Co.

Kelli Palmer of Breedlove Beauty


Instagram: @breedlovebeautyco

When Kelli Palmer started Breedlove Beauty in 2016, she had a very specific goal in mind: to create a Black-owned line of luxury hair care and skin care products made with natural, organic ingredients. Palmer’s vision for her company also included stylish packaging and sleek branding and marketing. Fortunately, her experience working in Communications and Public Relations at LSU gave her an advantage in this area. As a Black woman with natural 4c textured hair, Palmer had a lot of experience making her own products using ingredients like shea and mango butters. Soon her friends and family started requesting that she make products for them and Palmer saw the opportunity to scratch the entrepreneurial itch that had always been there: “I’ve always had the desire to be a business owner. I knew I wasn’t going to work in the corporate world forever.” Palmer’s desire to be a business owner was so strong that she resigned from her position at LSU in April 2016 even before starting the business. She devoted the next few months to getting her business off the ground, and Breedlove Beauty officially launched on July 1st.

No photo description available.Speaking about the benefits of being a business owner, Palmer says that the best part is “the freedom and the ability to create and sell these wonderful products, make a living for myself, and have financial freedom.” She describes herself as a creative and loves the parts of the business that allow her to tap into her artistic side: “I love the marketing aspect, doing photo shoots and the creative content side of the business.” Radiating optimism and positivity, Palmer does not focus on the challenges of running a business, but she acknowledges that finding employees has been difficult and that COVID has caused shipping delays particularly on orders for packaging supplies.

When offering advice to new and aspiring entrepreneurs, Palmer is equal parts pragmatic and inspirational. She emphasizes that “staying on top of finances is one of the most important things. Make sure you get a business account, have all the business money going into the business account and make sure to pay yourself.” She stresses that having a business account and keeping detailed records will help in the future for things like applying for a business loan or leasing a retail space. She also suggests hiring or at least consulting with an accountant, getting a payroll system if possible, and seeking out available resources like grants, small business competitions and the library’s Small Business department. Palmer’s unsolicited (but highly appreciated) library plug transitions into a discussion of her history with libraries. As a teen nerd (her words) growing up in North Baton Rouge, she recalls walking to the Scotlandville Branch Library often for ACT prep classes, to use the computer, to spend hours reading or just to get out of the house. For her, the library was a place of solitude. Today, as the mom of a toddler and an avid reader, Palmer still values the important role that the library serves in Baton Rouge.

Returning to her business advice, Palmer acknowledges that, ofNo photo description available. course, making money is a primary goal of starting a business, but she warns that, “it can’t be all about the money because there are good and bad days. Sometimes you will have all the money and sometimes you will have no money.” She encourages folks to remember that, “if this is what you’re really passionate about you can do it. If you see God doing it for others, it can happen for you too. You just have to put in the work, energy and effort that it takes to get to that point. It may take longer for you than it does for other people, but if you stay focused it’s going to happen.”

Before the interview concluded, Palmer revealed the origins of her company’s name: Breedlove Beauty. It has a dual meaning referring to her desire to “breed love into the world” with her products while also paying homage to Sarah Breedlove (the Black entrepreneur credited as America’s female first self-made millionaire) who is better known as Madam C.J. Walker.

Check out Breedlove Beauty at or on Instagram @breedlovebeautyco.